When I was 30 years old, I aborted my child. I wasn’t some young, scared teenage kid, but I was still a scared young adult. I had been dating a man from work who was very recently divorced. When it turned out that, due to failed contraception, I was pregnant, it was very clear that he did not want to step up and start another new family.
I told only 3 people about my pregnancy: the father/boyfriend, who I didn’t find out until much later had had 2 abortions with his first wife; my sister, who had had an abortion at 19 without telling anyone but my older sister; and my next door neighbor friend, who had had (at least) 3 abortions, for various reasons. I was too ashamed to tell my parents or ask for their help/advice. I was raised in the 60’s-70’s with women’s liberation: take charge of your body/life/etc. etc.! I felt it was all my responsibility and obligation to “take care of it myself”. I was working as a glorified secretary making barely enough to support myself, and I knew I couldn’t support a child also.
I agonized over what to do. I would cry and cry when I thought of aborting my child, and when I was all cried out, I would think “I’ll just keep it!”, and suddenly peacefulness would come over me. Unfortunately, within a short time I started once again stressing about finances, “what will people think/say” …. and once again convinced myself I was incapable of keeping this child. My boyfriend accompanied me to the clinic and stood next to the bed during the “termination procedure”, and I laid there on that table and cried and cried and cried through the whole thing. Depression set in after that and he kept trying to cheer me up, because he wanted his “girlfriend” back, not the depressed “post-abortive mother of his child”!
I pushed down that memory and pain for many, many years and went on to have 3 beautiful children. But still that gnawing sadness would surface. I had taken it to confession, but although God forgave me, I just could never forgive myself. In our parish bulletin was an ad for Project Rachel. I finally called. The women/facilitators were kind, gentle, compassionate, non-judgmental, and truly loving. Walking through those 9 weeks with them, was amazing and gave me such a gift of closure. I still today think back on my little angel child waiting for me in heaven, and am still very sad when I think of her/him. The sadness never goes away; I believe you will grieve that loss your whole life, which any mother does when she loses a child at any time in their life. I realize now I had no PRO-LIFE voice in my life at that time! No one who has had abortions themselves is going to tell you not to! They would feel like hypocrites. And the ones who might have stepped up for me, like my parents, I never gave a chance. God gave me a chance every time when I was cried out and then felt His peace — He was trying to reassure me that it would be alright. But like the seed that is scattered in the bramble bushes, those thorns of material and earthly worries choked out His message.
After my Project Rachel experience, I felt drawn to help in that ministry. By the grace of God, I was allowed to also become a facilitator for a while until I moved out of state. It was a beautiful thing to walk with my post-abortive sisters through the pain and reconciliation of their experiences. I will always be eternally grateful for the gift of Project Rachel and the kind, compassionate women who serve in that ministry. May God bless them and all the post-abortive mothers abundantly!